Monday, September 13, 2021

Proteas: The Myth and The Meanings


Dating back approximately 300 million years, Proteas are one of the oldest families of flowering plants on the planet. It is believed that the protea genus originated on the super-continent Gondwana. When the continent eventually split, they were spread primarily across Australia and South Africa.

Proteas were named after the sea god Proteus in Greek mythology, who was the prophetic old man of the sea and shepherd of the sea's flock. Proteus protected the seals of Poseidon on the island of Pharos, near the mouth of the Nile, and was able to adopt any shape he wished. He knew all things - past, present, and future and disliked sharing his knowledge. If you wanted to consult him, you had to surprise him during his siesta and tie him up. Even when caught, he would try to escape by assuming many different shapes. If you were able to trap Proteus, he would return to his original shape, answer your questions, and plunge back into the sea.

Because of the intriguing myth that it comes with genus, and their unique charm, the family is known to symbolize extraordinary beauty, embracing diversity and individuality + the courage to stay true to oneself.


Diversity… Named after the god Proteus, it’s no wonder that the proteas symbolize diversity. It’s also associated with social unity and accepting one’s individuality. After all, they’re unique in so many ways, and can be found in many colors, hues, textures, shapes and sizes.


Courage & Resilience… The fact that proteas have existed for so long, thrive in extreme geographical areas and can endure harsh weather conditions - even wildfires, makes them the perfect symbol for strength, resilience and courage.


Transformation & Change… Proteas often represent change, transformation and hope, since the plant gracefully restores itself after severe wildfires.


Beauty and Individuality… This family also represents beauty, which is fitting for their exotic and unique appearance. When placed next to other beautiful flowers, proteas will stand out in any arrangement. The flower’s unique appearance is often perceived as a symbol of distinctive beauty, individuality and courage to stay true to oneself.


Longevity… Dating back 300 million years, Proteas are among the oldest flowers we know. This link associates it with longevity and long life.


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